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Home Children & Young Persons: Child Abduction

To abduct and/or to kidnap someone is to forcefully remove a person from a particular location to another without their wish and by so doing, to infringe on their fundamental human rights. The Common law in England and Wales confirms that abduction and kidnap are criminal offences punishable by law. Whereas abduction is an offence more commonly committed by parents or others in similar capacity and/or with parental custody over the child, kidnapping involves the disappearance of a person caused by another, who deliberately and without the consent of the former, attacks and unlawfully imprisons him or her against their will.

A concise definition of kidnapping as an offence was given in the case of R V D,[1] as the attack and infringement upon the personal liberty of an individual where such an individual is taken and carried away against their will; by any form of deceit. It is also essential to a charge of kidnapping that the removal of the person was unlawful. The law will however ordinarily treat as irrelevant to the case and/or inadequate any reliance upon consent given by a minor or anyone of insufficient capacity.

Child Abduction in UKChild Abduction is a Serious Offence in UK


Under the Child Abduction Act 1984, it is a criminal offence for a person who is connected with a child in any capacity to take or send the child out of the United Kingdom unless the consent of those with parental custody and responsibility has been sought and subsequently obtained. The criminal offence of child abduction and or kidnapping can also extend to parents as long as the offending parent neglected to obtain the consent of the other parent and/or others with parental responsibility. This is known as parental child abduction.

International Child Abduction

Taking the abducted child out of the country does not preclude the offender from prosecution, particularly where the country of destination is within the European Union. There are rules which govern member states of the European Union known as the Brussels II Regulation (revised) and these rules also criminalise child abduction and kidnapping. Our experience in defending child abduction charges extends to allegations of international abduction.

Our child abduction solicitors are well aware of the emotional upheavals that may potentially be a by product of a divorce, separation or other untenable situations in the family; leading to the removal of a child or children from the broken down relationship without the other parent’s consent. We have a special team of children solicitors who specialise in cases involving abducted children. Where it is feared by one party that their access to the child or children involved in a failed relationship may become diminished or altogether eradicated, desperate measures may seem the only answer in such distressed situations. The law however prohibits child abduction or abduction of any kind and kidnapping. The sentence imposable upon conviction is determined by a variety of factors and may extend to several years of imprisonment.

It is imperative that you speak to one of our child abduction lawyers who will call upon several years of experience, exemplary skills and expertise in advising you of your rights and available defences for child abduction charges. We have criminal solicitors in London who deal with children and can further assist in resolving any lingering issues.

[1] (1984) AC 778


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